Best Waterproof Phones Android Central 2020
Over the years, water-resistance in phones has gone from being a luxury reserved only for top-end phones to a standard feature that's expected of almost any even remotely expensive gadget. In 2019, you really can't go wrong with any of these waterproof phones, like the excellent Galaxy S10+.
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S10+
- Best Software: Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL
- Great for Videographers: Sony Xperia 1
- Great for Artists: Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Best Wired Audio: LG G8 ThinQ
- Best One-Handed Phone: Samsung Galaxy S10e
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Galaxy S10+ is one of the most popular phones on the market, and with good reason — it offers just about everything you could ask for in a modern flagship. The curved glass and metal frame practically meld into your hand, and the 6.4-inch AMOLED display looks stunning, with minimal bezels surrounding it thanks to the hole punch cutout for the cameras.
Of course, the S10+ is IP68 water- and dust-resistant, meaning it can survive through a rainstorm or accidental submersion with ease. It also packs other convenient features like wireless charging and reverse wireless charging, as well as a futuristic in-display fingerprint sensor and Samsung's One UI software, which moves elements of the interface towards the bottom of the screen to make the phone a bit easier to handle.
On the back are three great cameras; a standard wide lens backed by telephoto and ultra-wide lenses, which allow you plenty of flexibility while shooting, and there's a secondary wide-angle lens upfront for more effortless group selfies. Overall, the Galaxy S10+ is exceptionally versatile, well-built, and powerful, and it offers something for just about every kind of user.
- Amazing display
- Top-of-the-line specs
- Versatile triple camera system
- Terrific battery life
- Great build quality
- Too large for some people
- Very expensive
A well-rounded flagship for the masses.
This is one of the best overall phones packing in everything from wireless charging to a massive 4100mAh battery, triple cameras, and IP68 certification.
Best Software: Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL
The Pixel 3 represents the very best of Google's software. Owners of the phone can already install beta builds of Android Q, and when the public version is finally released, they'll be the first to get it. The hardware is no slouch either, though; that IP68-rated exterior holds similar muscle to other high-end flagships, with a Snapdragon 845 chipset and 4GB of RAM.
You also get front-facing speakers and an excellent 18:9 display, and of course, the Pixel 3 has one of the best cameras on any phone you can buy. Night Sight allows the Pixel 3 to capture stunning photos even in near-pitch black conditions, and in daylight, you can grab some great-looking portrait shots.
- Timely Android updates
- Outstanding camera
- Unlimited full-res Google Photos uploads
- Front-facing speakers
- Available in small and XL
- Lacklustre battery life
- No ultrawide or telephoto lens
VIP access to every new software update.
The Pixel 3 is the first in line for every new platform update, making it a perfect phone for Android enthusiasts.
Great for Videographers: Sony Xperia 1
The Xperia 1 is Sony's sleeper hit Android flagship, backed by IP68 water resistance and a near-stock build of Android 9 Pie. It has a stunning 21:9 4K AMOLED display with the BT.2020 colour gamut, making it one of the best phones for watching (and creating) movies on the go.
It also has a versatile triple camera array, offering the same combination of wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses as the Galaxy S10+. The Cinema Pro app lets you take the most advantage of those cameras with manual video controls, including 24p 4K video, custom LUTs, manual focus and shutter speed, and the robust h.265 codec.
- Incredible 4K display with pro-grade specs
- Triple-camera system
- Extensive manual video controls
- Clean Android Pie software
- Physical camera shutter button
- 21:9 aspect ratio can be too tall at times
- Camera is slow to capture and process photos
Great for Videographers
Pro video settings and a pro display.
The Xperia 1's display is among the best we've seen, and the extensive manual video controls pair wonderfully with the triple-camera array.
Great for Artists: Samsung Galaxy Note 9
With an IP68 rating, the Galaxy Note 9 is just as water-resistant as the newer S10+ and boasts a massive 6.4-inch QHD display. There's a Snapdragon 845 chipset inside, a great big 4000mAh battery, and yep, this one has a headphone jack, too. It also touts Samsung's mighty S Pen, which now features remote operation to control your phone without ever touching the screen — this is great for remote shutter photography and music playback.
It's essential to keep in mind that the Galaxy Note 9's successor is due soon, but in the meantime, the Note 9 is still one of the best phones you can buy, especially if you do a lot of note-taking and drawing.
- S Pen with wireless functionality
- Two great rear cameras
- Long battery life
- Huge, great-looking display
- Gorgeous design with IP68
- Successor is due soon
- Last year's specs
Great for Artists
No other stylus can compete with the S Pen.
Paired with the S Pen, the Galaxy Note 9 is capable of doing things few other phones can, including pressure-sensitive drawing and note-taking.
Best Wired Audio: LG G8 ThinQ
The G8 is a fairly run-of-the-mill flagship, but there's simply no beating LG's Quad DAC for hi-fi wired audio. The G8 packs an impressive speaker under the display, as well, for the times you want to project your music around the room.
Of course, the G8 is also IP68 water-resistant and features a large OLED display while still being reasonably manageable in one hand, thanks to tight bezels, rounded glass on the sides, and a small display notch up top. There's a Time of Flight sensor in that notch that allows you to unlock the G8 or control media playback by simply hovering your hand over the phone.
- Quad DAC for wired audio
- Wide and ultra-wide lenses
- Manual video controls
- Boombox speaker
- Finely tuned vibration motor
- No OIS in secondary camera
- Air Motion is unreliable
Best Wired Audio
LG's Quad DAC is still unrivalled for wired listening.
The LG G8 offers high-fidelity wired audio, along with clean Android software and an ultra-wide lens.
Best One-Handed Phone: Samsung Galaxy S10e
If you want most of the features of the Galaxy S10+ but don't want a massive, two-handed slab, you're in luck. The Galaxy S10e has an identical spec sheet and even the same cameras — sans the telephoto lens. Of course, it's IP68 waterproof, too.
With a smaller 3100mAh battery, you won't get the plus-sized version's incredible endurance. But in just about every other right, you're getting the same experience for hundreds less. It's even better in some ways — not everyone is a fan of the S10+'s in-display fingerprint sensor and the S10e swaps it out for a capacitive sensor along the side.
- Compact size that's great for one-handed use
- Same specs as the larger S10+
- Excellent build quality
- Reverse wireless charging
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
- Lacklustre battery life
- No telephoto lens
Best One-Handed Phone
The best phone, shrunken down into a one-handed device.
The Galaxy S10e size makes it easier to use in one hand. It has a slightly reduced battery life and no telephoto lens but is still a fantastic option.
What do these ratings mean?
While no phone is truly waterproof, there are varying levels of water resistance to keep in mind when comparing different phones. Every model in this list is rated IP68, which denotes full dust resistance and allows the phone to survive up to 30 minutes in as much as two meters of water. Other phones may be rated IP67, offering the same dust protection but only half the submersion depth at a single meter.
You may also occasionally see IPX7, which protects against one meter of water but doesn't guarantee protection against dust. Some phones, like the OnePlus 7 Pro, are water-resistant to some extent but not officially IP-certified. This means it'll probably survive if you get caught in the rain or accidentally drop your phone in the sink, but you shouldn't test your luck since you're unlikely to get very far with customer service if the water damage indicator inside the phone gets wet.
On that note, while water resistance is a great feature to have, it isn't a guarantee from the manufacturer that your phone will survive any and all immersion. Especially if your phone gets badly cracked or the water sealant inside gets damaged (this typically happens when removing the back for repairs), liquid can still seep in and ruin your phone — so take the regular precautions with your phone, even if it's IP68-certified.
Most phones are water resistant these days
Whether you buy the Galaxy S10+, or the Xperia 1, you'll be getting an incredible phone that's backed by the same IP68 certification. Even if none of these phones speak to you, though, here's some excellent news: ingress protection is all but mandated in a flagship phone these days, so the next time you're shopping around, you can pretty much choose whatever phone catches your eye.
If you're shopping on a tighter budget, don't worry — there are still some options worth considering with at least moderate water resistance. The Moto G7 may not be IP68-certified; it has a "water repellent P2i nano-coating" that protects it from like splashes. Even the Moto E5 Play is splash-resistant; while phones within this price range are less likely to have ingress protection, there are certainly options out there.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and video editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
The best USB stick for your Kano Computer
USB sticks truly can change everything. They can save all your work, yes, but they also have the ability to protect your computer if you need them to. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to find a quality product. That's why we've done the hard work for you and found the best USB sticks available!
The best external battery packs for the Google Pixel
Keep your Google Pixel going longer in the day with a reliable and portable battery pack.